Belfast Telegraph

Losing Aidan changed me: TV wedding guru now set for the bar

By Maureen Coleman

As one half of a celebrity wedding planning business, Anthony Miller helped brides and grooms fulfil their big day dreams.

Under the moniker Ant and Dick, the Antrim man, along with his friend Richard Jones, organised one of the UK's first high profile civil partnerships as well as planning the nuptials of West End star Rachel Tucker and ex-Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett.

But a personal tragedy in 2011 prompted Anthony to reassess his life and future ambitions. As someone who had always been interested in all things legal, he considered returning to education to study law. But having left school with no GCSEs and only a modelling contract to his name, he was convinced he would never be offered a place on a course.

However, his background in arranging civil partnerships meant he had an idea about some aspects of law and his role as an ambassador for Unite Against Hate stood him in good stead.

Anthony, who still runs a model academy, Cast First, was offered a place at Staffordshire University, studying LLB Law (Hons).

The 36-year-old has since swapped weddings for writs and is now setting his sights on becoming a barrister.

"I've always been really interested in law. I used to watch programmes like Ally McBeal, The Good Wife and Silk and thought it would be an amazing industry to be part of," he said.

"Not only are you getting to help people, but you're also responsible for changing lives, for changing the constitution of the country. I find everything about it fascinating."

Sadly for Anthony, it was the death of his four-year-old nephew Aidan from an aggressive form of brain cancer that brought about his change in direction.

"Aidan died in September 2011 and all I can say is that I had a bit of an epiphany," he said. "A few days after his funeral, an event I'd organised, which I thought would do well, flopped and that made me think about everything too.

"A friend came to stay with me and we spent the whole week soul searching. I decided there and then to try and follow my dream and pursue law as a career."

When he graduates, he will spend a further year training before being called to the bar. And he hopes to specialise in chancery, employment or human rights law.

After winning a competition which saw him pitted against other would-be legal eagles to test their skills, Anthony says he knows he made the right decision.

"I absolutely love the course," he said. "It's the best decision I've ever made. That's not to say the other things I did with my life were wrong. But this feels right."

Anthony Miller began modelling at 15 and runs Cast First Model Academy. At 25, he moved from Antrim to London and set up wedding planning business Ant and Dic with Richard Jones. He organised the first civil partnership in London and this led to him having a high profile in the wedding industry, with television shows on Sky TV. He also commentates on radio. In 2013, he moved to England to study law at Staffordshire University and plans to become a barrister.

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